You know this picture well....the forced "WHOOOOO!!!" that is the personal equivalent of fiddling while the "Rome" that is your life burns...
It's Thanksiving today and the Holiday Season (TM) has started in earnest. Even if you don't take the holidays to heart too seriously, some how the pain of missing someone(s) always seems to get worse and their absence is highlighted in Technicolor neon by the vibe in the air, the coldrums (cold doldrums), the increased workload and stress, the stress of having to be brave and cheerful and "normal" amidst intense lengthy bouts of socializing, the memories that are sprouting up, unbidden in droves...all of it.
But wait, there's more!
The break-up has been a horrifying waking nightmare, and as if you’re the target of a black ju-ju curse, the chips in your life keep falling where they may—in all the worst ways. Your life could be the illustrated example for the phrase “it never rains, it pours”.
It could be any combination of things: trouble with (or loss of) your job, car trouble, house trouble, legal trouble, or some other financial and energetic catastrophe, a death, illness (your own or someone you care about), and so on. Devastating enough on their own, now you are forced to deal alone while dealing with the betrayal and heartbreak of being left to fend for yourself by the person you were absolutely sure you could count on to be there through thick and especially thin. You know, the person you gave everything you had to give and more to.
You can’t even catch a break when you should be having fun. Whether you are trying to get into and excited about things you’ve been wanting to do (but didn’t because you spent your time and energy on your relationship), or your friends finally drag you out of your fortress of solitude for a “fun night out”…things feel good again for minute, great even! “We’ll look back someday and laugh”—that day has finally come! You’re high on a change of pace, high on a change of scenery, high on all the attention of others, maybe even buzzed on alcohol or something else. You wonder what you had been so upset about anyway! Heartache? What’s heartache?! You’re flying! Until…
The trigger could be ANYTHING. It could be the song, a sight, a smell, suddenly feeling ignored or snubbed or not paid-attention-to “enough”, getting rejected, something not working, a wardrobe malfunction (broken shoe, anyone?), noticing all the happy couples around you, coming down off the high, someone being rude, opening yet another threatening “past due” notice, news going from bad to worse…you don’t even have to realize what it is for the emotional Acme anvil to smash you flat as a pancake.
Too bad Acme doesn’t sell a Crate of Inhibitions (TM) because yours are gone.
You’re too stressed, too impaired, too triggered, too hurt for too long, too starved for the love you miss. The depression-induced brainfog is back stronger than ever and you come to the conclusion that the situation is hopeless. If your situation is dire, you feel like there’s no way up from hitting rock bottom. If you were having fun, you feel like life is a lost cause if you can’t even feel good for more than 30 minutes when out and about doing something delightful--even while fully conscious of and taking into account how poorly you were treated by the one(s) who were supposed to love and care about you.
You’re sick of no contact (it’s been so hard, you’re still hurting, and there’s no end in sight …what are you “being strong” for anyway?), you never “got” closure (spoiler: closure has to be made), you want to know that you mattered to your ex-, or at least the secret to being able to completely forget someone and move on (since they had no problem doing that with you), you want to make them remember, or better yet get confirmation that you weren’t as forgettable as they made you feel…you want to be missed the way you are missing them. Why…HOW…are they never in the state you’ve been *living*--bereft—and never had a weak moment where they reached out?
You aren’t sure whether to convince yourself that life with your ex- wasn’t that bad, or to get more incensed, angry, and outraged. You can be curled up on the floor at your lowest, or looking great and supposed to be having the time of your life...
the emotional fall-out is the same because your wounds have re-opened:
You can’t help but screaming internally: ‘Is there no end to this indignation?!’
So you do any of the following (or more accurately, you feel like any of the following “just happens”):
*Call their friend/relative/co-worker/someone they know who would know what they’ve been up to, to do a F.B.I.-style interrogation (that is anything but subtle or effective and makes you look and feel like the F.B.I. will probably put you on a list)
*Text and/or leave a voice message
*Drive by their house/place of work/place you know they will be just to feel an iota of closeness of the past for one second because you are feeling that alone
*Start a fight/drama with someone else/do something damaging as a projection of your pain and lack of control
*Cry inconsolably or shut down/become a drag—either way, you stop functioning
Whatever you have going on, when your vulnerabilities have taken over your sensibilities at the moment, your inhibitions have fled, and you feel (or are) impaired….
your deepest insecurities and issues will take center-stage and you will feel completely justified in the moment, no matter how erratic or counter-productive you react….
and Tomorrow You will be left reaping (and trying to mitigate/deal with/recover from) the consequences, which include but aren’t limited to:
*Losing any trust you had in yourself (since you can’t be counted on to make your behavior benefit you. Instead you got back on the self-sabotage saddy-go-round)
*Losing self-respect (since you’ve just demonstrated you lack self-control)
*Internal humiliation and loss of dignity
*Feeling like a complete loser because you feel like everything you’ve been working on (like healing your heart and staying strong) has gone down the drain *Feeling like a pathetic emotional-scraps-feeding bottom-dweller forgotten and cut off from those blessed souls who get to live in the light-filled upper relationship realms.
Yikes. That’s heavy and dismal.
So what can we do to stay in control when nothing in our life is under control (and we keep making neon signs to advertise that fact at every opportunity)? How can we stop letting every good or bad moment highlight our sense of loss, sadness, and feeling of desperation?
Avoid Temptation: If you can’t trust yourself to drink alcohol or use other substances and NOT sabotage because you are still healing, still getting triggered, and still hurting—DON’T. You have nothing to prove (i.e. “I can handle myself”) to anyone other than the fact that you do or don’t do whatever you need to in this moment in order to stay classy, in-control, and healthy.
Have a Wing Man: The value of having someone who has consistently proved that they genuinely care about you and can be trusted can not be overstated. If you are vulnerable, raw, and struggling to stay balanced, someone who will help steady you and guide you in making the decisions that Tomorrow You would wish you had made is a must. If they love you and have your best interests at heart, they can respectfully keep you from wandering off and getting into trouble, falling victim to a stranger (or yourself, in a weak moment), breaking no contact, making a bad choice, and otherwise temper/get you out of the situation if you start falling apart and don’t have the presence of mind to do it yourself.
Let Go: One of the most painful, impossible-to-reconcile parts of a break-up is realizing that what you thought was water-tight, insured, and ensured was a lie that you have no recourse to…and if other major aspects of your life are in jeopardy, it only feels MORE impossible. But the truth is that you aren’t guaranteed anything in this hologram called life, other than that your mettle will be tested. Holding onto or trying to re-establish (consciously or unconsciously) what has passed away will only cause you more tribulation and leave you even more drained. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to give your heart space, the acceptance called “forgiveness”, and the productivity of no longer counting on something that simply isn’t and won’t be there. When you accept the absence of an option, you can use that newly-freed energy to be creative and find feasible options/solutions instead.
Nature abhors a vacuum. When you surrender something and let go, the Universe *must* fill the void left behind.
If someone wants to be in your life, they will call at the right time and be able to demonstrate they understand what role they played in the dysfunction of the relationship and what they have done, are doing, and will do to make sure that they have cleaned up their side of the street to make it work this time because they actually care and they heard you WHEN YOU WERE IN THE RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER (you know, when they were *supposed* to see, hear, and care about you) or at least did a little more reflection on it than none at all (and are only back because they have some selfish need to be met right now and you're the booty call they think they can make).
You will be able to discuss, but not have to explain because they will have enough emotional intelligence to be aware, self-regulate, empathize, and actualize.
If they can't or won't, they aren't being fully present in the way that you have always wanted and deserved. You still won't have a recipe for success (that always takes two to work); it's the same recipe for more crazy-making, disappointment, and hurt.
Reach Out To The Right Person: If you are at the breaking point and you just *can’t* let go because you need someone NOW and don’t know where to turn, call up your Wing Man.
And if you don’t have a Wing Man? Get on 7cups.com and chat with 14 different people for 5 hours if you need to, but reach out. It’s anonymous, free, and there is someone available no matter what time or day; someone infinitely more understanding, empathetic, caring, and kind (you know, all those things you are looking for and need right now) than your ex- would be (and has always proven not to be). You weren’t designed to deal with life alone, and you don’t have to because you AREN’T alone. Pain and heartbreak is universal and the ironic miracle of healing is that by helping others heal, you help yourself heal.
Whatever your situation, there ARE resources to help you, somewhere. Persevere in looking for them. YOU HAVE OPTIONS. There *is* a way.
Be A Person Worth Missing: Get out of your own head and your own “needs” for a moment. It’s hard for anyone to feel like they are “missing out” on someone who acts unhinged, unpredictable, dramatic, needy, depressed (and depressing), dangerous, menacing, demanding, or irritating, who has let themselves go, and who’s life is one big cry for help because it is an out-of-control mess (whether they are at fault or no).
It’s time to start telling (and acting out) an entirely different story, one where you can walk away and be okay because:
*You do your best, whatever that is at this particular second. Your best fluctuates from moment to moment and situation to situation, but you *always* have end goals of being high-class, honorable, reliable, creative, persistent, and true to your values. That your behavior TRULY benefits you and consistently makes you more TRULY secure, especially in the long run, is the place that you consistently choose to operate from. You learn to control the urge to pander to impulsiveness and whims or behavior that you know is masked self-sabotage; you train yourself to spot illusions of beneficial behavior and security, and to then re-route.
You can't criticize or self-doubt when you are doing your best in the moment because that is literally all you can do.
*You accept that time will pass anyway, so you can let yourself off the hook for unrealistically solving all of your problems/healing from all your trauma overnight.
Feel your feelings, embrace the process of each and every challenge, be consistent, reliable, and always be looking for ways to grow and improve.
This intersects with always doing your best. Celebrate your successes and use your failures as the only thing they are meant to be: a re-calibration to try again in a different way.
This is a day-to-day or even second-to-second ordeal, but the more that you complete goals you set, or keep promises you make to yourself, the more you will be able to watch in amazement as your life changes for the better, even if your heart is currently shattered.
This is the way to take back as much control as you can even when your hair is falling out from the stress, hopelessness, and helplessness that you feel. There IS a way.
If you do this, you will notice that the pilot’s seat that has always been rightfully yours is no longer up for grabs for anyone (not your ex-, not your emotionally-damaged inner child's impulses to react). If you run into your ex- you can be cool and remain neutral and indifferent because you have put space around the situation; space braced by knowing your worth because you have learned what you are made of.
You are *somebody* and you have somewhere to be.
If something in your daily life craters, you can make it to the side of the sinkhole (instead of falling to the bottom as well). Because every day you’ve been preparing, inching further and further away from ground zero.
Because you have made your security a priority and your behavior benefit you a little more each day, you are in a good place with lots of cushions for any blows life may deliver.
You have slowly built up a network of people who share your values, are REAL, and love and care about you; you have created multiple sources of income; you have projects that fulfill and quicken you and are a good outlet for any sorrow you might be dealt; you eat healthily and care for your body to maintain your health and well-being as much as possible.
Self-respect and self-trust will be yours again because you have consistently showed yourself that you are in control and are capable of recovery/moving forward (even when you thought you weren't).
No matter how convinced your heart and head is of the hopelessness of your situation, remember that like everything else in life, this too shall pass. Closure will come because it MUST.
Like growth, it is happening with every second, whether you can see it or not.
Something new and beautiful is growing for you, right now. Go out and live again in the confidence that it is on its way and that you are rising to meet it because you have your own back.
All My Love,