I recently watched a TV phone-in, where there was a call from a woman who was still unable to move on 50 years after her relationship had ended. The couple had had a child together, so he remained in her life on and off. Yet she had never got over him, never created a new life for herself and, up to that day, still believed they were destined for each other.
This is probably an extreme case, and without knowing more, it’s impossible to know what else had been happening in this woman’s life for the past 50 years. But that call really stayed with me; I was curious about a life so consumed by another person that it left no room for oneself. How could this woman, have spent the majority of her life living for someone else who had no interest in her.
Ruminating over the loss of a relationship is a normal part of the healing process, but you get stuck when your focus can’t change from “we” to “me”. Learning to move on requires shifting that bias so that you can start to see your life as belonging to you. (more…)
When I was going through the early stages of my break-up and the pain was unbearable, my immediate divorce goals boiled down to one: “I don’t want to feel like this anymore”.
I wanted anything to take away the heartbreak I was feeling. A magic wand or a miracle solution was my biggest wish.
As the months dragged by (and it felt like this process was going to be endless), I eventually accepted that there was no magic rescue. I also realised that “not feeling like this” wasn’t a big enough goal to stretch me to move on. I had to have something more satisfying to work towards.
Initially I set my goal simply at “happiness” but didn’t know what that really looked like. It was a deeply uncomfortable time – reflecting, ruminating and constantly overthinking. (more…)
When someone treats us badly either during a relationship or through the process of a break-up, it is entirely natural to be left with a sense of bitterness and resentment.
Even if we decide to refrain from negative dialogue or behaviour towards our ex-partner, it’s comforting to hold onto the belief that “karma will get them”. This relieves us of the need to inflict harm while secretly hoping that our ex will suffer for the pain they have caused.
But as justified as it feels, waiting expectantly for karma to do its thing is simply vengeance in another form; this only keeps us stuck from moving on.
I totally understand how hard it is to give up hope for some righteous comeuppance.When my ex-husband left me and our 3 young children to be with someone else, it felt so utterly wrong and unfair that he got to move on and get what he wanted without consequence. (more…)
Divorce triggers many grief emotions, but when a couple breaks up because one person decides that it’s over, you feel a very distinct pain: the sting of rejection. It doesn’t matter whether things had been difficult for some time or if the split came out of the blue; either way, rejection feels cruel.
At the end of my marriage eight years ago, I had no idea that the breakup was coming. On top of the shock that the relationship was suddenly over, I carried the intense and overwhelming feeling of rejection; I was no longer valued, wanted, or needed.
Rejection can trigger feelings of shame, low self-esteem. and diminished confidence as well as helplessness and victimization. If you are left for another person (which was my experience) the intensity of rejection increases further. I experienced anger and resentment about betrayal; this makes healing feel much harder than in those cases where a decision to split is mutual. (more…)
Valentine’s day after a divorce can bring painful memories of happier times. Even if you were never a “Valentine’s Day person” it’s normal to feel a sense of loneliness on this most coupley of days, which emphasises the fact that you are alone and missing out on what everyone else seems to have.
Today, I’m not going to talk about how to get through February 14th because it’s something I’ve already covered in another post. Instead, I’m going to invite you to go deep on self-love.
Last weekend I attended a self-love yoga workshop. Oh wow! I wish I could prescribe this remedy to anyone needing break-up support on Valentine’s day (or any other time). It was a gentle yet powerful two-hour reminder of where we can find the love we most need; by looking within and remembering to connect to ourselves.
It can be grating to read about self-love in a Valentine’s day post, when all you want is for somebody else to care for you. But I’m writing about it anyway because, even though it might not be the kind of love you want to receive today, it’s the most important of all, and learning to embrace it will bring you more happiness than any card, gift or romantic meal. (more…)
There is no shortage of help and advice when it comes to heartbreak.
A quick online search will reveal hundreds of pages, groups and resources dedicated to supporting you through the pain of divorce. It is encouraging, sympathetic and comforting. People gather in Facebook groups to share their stories of futures shattered and the despair of loneliness.
It is reassuring to know you’re not alone. And yet, despite this divorce support, you still find it so very hard to move on, to stop analysing the break-up, to stop going round in endless emotional in circles. (more…)
Low self esteem after divorce is underpinned by the idea that we are no longer whole without our partner. It feels like half of us is missing and the future seems unimaginably lonely. These are entirely normal and natural feelings. Not only have you lost the individual who shared your life, but also part of your identity as “the couple”.
However, choosing to look differently at deeply held beliefs about love, can lead to reframing some of that despair.
The notion of love and relationships is heavily based on an idea that a romantic partner is the answer to what we’ve been looking for. There is a profoundness in the idea that you can’t live without that special person; your soulmate, “The One”. (more…)
This August marks a whole year since I published my book “Break Up and Shine: The End Of Your Relationship Is The Making Of You”!
I started writing partly as self-healing, partly as a way to reach out and inspire others going through the same. I knew I wasn’t the only one out there going through the difficult divorce emotional stages. Eight years on, I continue to write this blog because I really love it and I know that it reaches people who need it.
Becoming published was a proud achievement for me. In Break Up and Shine I combine the wisdom I’ve learned both personally, and as a counsellor, to share the story of how I turned my life around post-divorce. I’m passionate about helping people see the opportunity in their loss!
To mark the publishing anniversary I’ve decided to share a chapter from Break Up and Shine with you; you can click on the link below to download the free PDF. (more…)
I cried when I sold my wedding ring. I wasn’t ready to get rid of it but I did it anyway. It felt drastic, final and gut-wrenching but ultimately satisfying. I had been through the worst of the grief and reached acceptance that my husband wasn’t coming back. I had removed the wedding photos from display, along with anything else which caused me daily pain, but most things weren’t truly “gone”; they were still kept somewhere waiting for……what?
Holding onto the things which remind us of the past is an absolutely normal part of the grieving process. It’s in our nature to infuse special items with emotional meaning, but they then become more deeply poignant after the loss of the person attached to them. We keep these things because they invoke a range of different feelings; hope, comfort, security or an acknowledgment that however the relationship has turned out, it wasn’t always bad.
Items which have sentiment attached to them are the hardest to declutter but are the most significant ones to deal with in order to move forward. What does it feel like for you to imagine letting them go? (more…)
Whenever I write about break-up and divorce as an opportunity for growth, I am very mindful of the fact that we need to allow grief first. When we heap positive expectations or goals on top of unexpressed sorrow it doesn’t serve us in the long run. You have to let yourself feel and express your emotions.
However, at some point we have to draw a line; we need to recognise the difference between healthy expression of grief and simply being stuck in our pain. Moving on from divorce is such an appealing goal, but it is very difficult because it requires willingness to look within and make changes. To avoid this we might (unconsciously) begin to retreat more deeply into heartbreak, as uncomfortable as it is, because it provides an excuse not to do the hard work of moving into an unknown and potentially scary new future without our partner. (more…)