Moving on from a relationship we weren’t ready to release takes time. As humans, we bond primally to others, and the separation “come down” can feel akin to coming down from drugs. This, while painful, is on the spectrum of normal when it comes to breaking up.
Your feelings of despair and hopelessness are in fact temporary, and they are a normal part of grieving over a relationship. In fact, only by grappling with the feeling that your life is over can you cleanse your deepest wounds from past and present losses and build anew. – Susan Anderson
What happens though, when we just can’t seem to get that person out of our heads or hearts?
When we lose sleep at night or feel gripped with panic that they were the only one who can make us feel better. Your mind might replay all of the things you could have done differently over and over. You might ask yourself, did I lose my only chance at love?
Know this: your fears are valid, but they are not true. You will have many opportunities to learn and grow in love, and as much as your mind may tell you this was your last chance, it isn’t.
If you have felt, or are feeling this way now, you’re not alone. But when this loop is in full effect, there are some deeper questions you need to start asking yourself.
Not “How do I get my ex back”, or “is there something wrong with me”? Those aren’t the questions that will help you break free of this addictive mind loop.
When we pedestal one person in our mind as the “One and Only”, there is often a wound or unmet need underneath that.
Unconsciously, this person may represent some type of love, validation, acceptance or nurturance you’re seeking. It’s possible that they represent someone from your past, like a parent who didn’t show up for you in the way you needed.
They may represent a type of energy or quality that you really enjoy – but don’t believe you can embody yourself.
It’s possible that because they represent someone from your past, you seek their approval and love more intensely than you otherwise would.
Once you recognize this, you can separate this person from your unmet need and come back to self-reliance and self-soothing.
It’s empowering to take back your projections with this person because what that means is, you have the capacity to heal, move on, and feel safe again all on your own. Knowing you don’t need them to save you from your own feelings means you can learn to be with whatever comes up and develop more resiliency.
Messy breakups can be a gift if we’re willing to journey into the dark and stay with our process. Opportunities like this give us insight into our relationship patterns and unconscious programs more than any other. So while it may feel tempting to focus all of your energy on getting back with your ex, or winning their love, know that at the heart of this desperation is something much deeper. Regardless of whether you can accomplish “winning” their love or not, the wound and pattern still exists within you.
Chasing unavailable people is self-abandonment. So if you find yourself engaging in this type of behavior, it’s time to slow down and come home to yourself.
If you want to build healthier relationships and embody self-love, it’s very important that you get this point. No person or relationship can offer you a sense of wholeness and completeness. This is inner-work, and regardless of whether you are in or out of a romantic partnership, this stuff will always be yours to unpack.
“The recovery task for this stage is to take hold of yourself one moment at a time, to recognize that you are a separate person, a fully capable adult, responsible for your own self-care. It is no one else’s responsibility to meet your emotional needs; only you can do that. Emotional self-reliance involves accepting the intense feelings of the experience, taking stock of your present reality, and assuring yourself that you will survive.” – Susan Anderson
Getting Over Your Ex Journal Questions:
- “What is the unmet need I want this person to meet”? (Validation, comfort, love, etc.)
- “If I were to look at this person as a solution to my problem, what solution would they be offering”. (Soothing anxiety, making me feel safe, providing comfort, love, approval that I am worthy, etc.)
- “Who from my past, does this person remind me of?” (caregiver, sibling, past partner.)
- “If I’m being radically honest with myself, what fears or insecurities are coming up in me”? (too much, not enough, etc.)
- “How can I begin to meet this internal need in another way, without relying on this person”.
- The next time I’m feeling triggered or anxious, who can I call instead of my ex?
- The next time I’m feeling triggered or anxious and no one is around, how can I self-soothe?
Here are a few suggestions for finding a new response when you’re feeling triggered:
- Call your mom/dad/sister/friend who supports me
- Find a therapist, coach or guide
- Create a self-love ritual for every time you’re feeling triggered
- Write a love letter to yourself
- Pick-up a book and read for 15 minutes every time you feel anxious