Some people go to therapy for almost anything, while others don’t have any idea why they need professional help at all, believing that they’ll feel better through their own means. This is true for those who experienced the pain of going through breakups. Yes, the hurt from a breakup may not be as tough for some people to deal with, but others find it difficult to manage and recover. They seek the help of a therapist simply because although they understand why the relationship had to end, the pain, anger, and unhappiness just seem to disappear. Their broken heart syndrome seems to linger and disrupt their normal day-to-day living.
Phases Of Breakup Recovery
For the past two decades, therapy and counseling have been providing emotional and mental support necessary to recover from a breakup or loss of a loved one. These techniques have given people the tools to manage and survive despite the pain. It’s more than just about seeking and finding another love but also about learning, coping, improving, and growing from the depressing experiences. It is about realizing your worth and attracting happiness and all positivity that you so deserve. As Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC often says, “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.”
Therapy Stage One
This stage involves healing. People who reach out to a therapist may be at different phases in their journey towards healing. Some may just be at the starting line and are mostly doing a lot of thinking and feeling lonely, hurt, anxious, depressed, insecure, and lost. Others attempt to forget about their pain by numbing themselves or denying the breakup ever happened. They may manifest this by acting angry and violent and may get into binge eating and alcohol or drug abuse. What’s worse is they might jump right into another relationship, leading to what we often call a rebound love (and we know this won’t do us any better!). “Give yourself permission to do some serious emotional healing to become your happiest self and remember, it is a process more than a destination.” Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD explains.
It is important that in this initial stage, we internalize how we really feel about the breakup and process the whole experience. Linger on it for a short while. Ask yourself where you went wrong – or if you were wrong in the first place. Recall the relationship and all its aspects. After you do this, tell yourself that you must move on from this part of you. You were only allowed to reflect on the damaged relationship, to grow from the experience, and then move forward.
Going through a healthy recovery involves acceptance, forgiveness, and letting go. It’s easy to say but really hard to do, as this is where most people usually get stuck. It’s just so difficult to forget the pain. You will have trouble understanding why you deserve all this anguish and maybe even regret you lost it. Negative behavioral patterns may manifest, all of which they think are helping them but are just prolonging the pain. Remember that your life is special. Decide whether or not you want to move on and live it successfully. If you decide that you value your life and want to move on, then certainly therapy can help you.
Therapy Stage Two
After a breakup, your self-esteem may often be suffering. You feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself as your partner left you for some reason. You may feel that he’s taken that part of you and you’ll never be complete again. The feeling of not knowing one’s identity is still strong. But in stage two, the focus is on repairing your self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, you will not need so much guidance from the therapist, but you will be your coach. This is done so that you will learn to become whole on your own and will successfully regain your life.
Also, in this phase, the therapist will walk you through getting you in a good place where you begin to believe and motivate yourself, love yourself, and being able to value your thoughts and ideas. These are some of the ‘warrior’ characteristics that will help you establish self-love. Soon, you will be capable of letting in the people you think are good for you and get rid of those who are toxic for your new life. Just remember, “When trying to keep a positive attitude, you must avoid people who thrive on negativity.” Fran Walfish, PsyD. says.
Therapy Stage Three
The final stage is where the renovation of your life happens. At this time, you are assumed to be strong, resilient, and possess a self-identity that is as whole as when you were once in love – only that you did it all by yourself. So now you are ready to take on the challenge of knowing what you want out of your new life. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? You might start by getting a new job or opening a new business that will hone your newly found skills. You can travel and rejuvenate. Or perhaps you can start dating!
Whatever you decide, you have to remember that things will go your way because you are now replenished with energy, strength, and love. Your whole life can change for all you care. The most important realization in this last stage is that you have a great relationship with yourself, and if you love again, you will never allow yourself to break that easily. Everything that happens from here on begins with you!